Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Great American Memory Hole

John 8:32 -- "Know the truth and the truth will set you free". Lefists know that the truth is fatal to them so many of them are busy revising and erasing history. They are even altering legal records. Keep your own notes and records to thwart them

In the fictional world of George Orwell's 1984, when printed information conflicted with the newest version of truth as Oceania's government proclaimed it, relevant documents were promptly revised by the Ministry of Truth and damning remnants of evidence stuffed down Memory Holes.

In the real world, when information conflicts with the truth as the Obama team defines it, inconvenient facts are spun, obscured, or sealed. Often important data is never collected or produced at all, eliminating the possibility that discrepancies may be revealed or inconsistent conclusions reached.

The pattern of clouding Obama's personal history began in 1995 with the publication of his autobiography, Dreams from My Father. In a 2008 NY Times article, Janny Scott noted: "In the introduction, Mr. Obama acknowledged his use of pseudonyms, composite characters, approximated dialogue and events out of chronological order." Jack Cashill, author of Deconstructing Obama, would likely add a few words to the end of Scott's article title, "The Story of Obama, Written by Obama," such as: "With Lots of Help from Some Guy in his Neighborhood."

Yet Dreams, admitted by its author (whoever that may be) as not entirely factual, was practically the only thing the media placed in Obama's vetting file. Cashill also raised doubts as to the authorship of Obama's second book, The Audacity of Hope, and Stanley Kurtz uncovered varying versions of the inspirational Jeremiah Wright sermon by the same title.

If any other scant investigating revealed inconvenient associations or facts, they were promptly spun and flushed down a Memory Hole by those Cashill calls the "Fifth Estate."

Mondo Frazier, in his new book, The Secret Life of Barack Hussein Obama, wrote:
In an age in which seemingly every facet of a person's life is recorded, on file, and increasingly available on the Internet, the total absence of Barack Obama's vital records is an almost singularly unique phenomenon...In Obama's case, the records either don't exist, haven't been released, or have disappeared.

Beginning in 2008, when citizens questioned whether Obama, with his unusual background, was really born in Hawaii (recall that even MSNBC's Chris Matthews in 2007 described Obama as "born in Indonesia") and whether his dual citizenship made him ineligible, the media maligned the doubters as "birthers," and Obama's relevant records were sealed even tighter. As Frazier noted: "Asking questions was no longer the mark of an informed electorate; it was considered bad form."

Another Orwellian phenomenon surrounding the "birther" controversy was recently discovered: "JustiaGate," in which 25 Supreme Court decisions that cited to the same case that defined "natural born" citizen were altered on's public database sometime mid-2008. The changes consisted of deleted references to the case name (Minor v. Happersett), "mangled" numerical citations, and other instances of missing text. Within days of the Portland Examiner's publishing of attorney Leo Donofrio's findings, Justia removed Wayback Internet Archives access, making it difficult to ascertain the plausibility of Justia owner Tim Stanley's explanation to CNET.

Although the decisions remain intact at other reliable sources, Justia is a popular free site, referred by many law schools for research. Journalists and attorneys frequently link to Justia's SCOTUS decisions in articles such as this recent posting on the WSJ Law Blog that cited Dirks v. SEC. In fact, google "Dirks v. SEC" and note the first search hit.

The unexplained omission of two important words ("of parents") from an 1862 Congressional Globe quotation that defined "natural born," cited in an amicus brief for a citizenship case before the Supreme Court, was noted in a previous American Thinker article. The column also described another instance in which the phrase "whose parents are citizens" was changed to "with an American parent" in an updated version of a 2008 scholarly article -- a small rewrite that made a world of difference regarding Obama's eligibility.

The "Requirements to Hold Office" page on the NY Board of Elections website is the subject of another recent controversy over a couple of qualifying words: "natural born" vs. "born a" citizen, and yet again, the tracks left behind in the Internet archives have been obscured.

Small words, their arrangement and placement, and nuances in their meaning can have great impact. So can small footnotes, as the 789 terminated Chrysler dealers learned. Donofrio represented 76 of them in an appeal after discovering that the presiding bankruptcy judge included an inexplicable footnote in his decision allowing the terminations to take place pre-sale (and therefore negating the dealers' rights as unsecured creditors). Judge Gonzalez wrote: "... [Fiat's representative Alfredo] Altavilla also responded affirmatively to a question regarding whether a dealership network needed to be restructured for the Fiat Transaction to close, stating that a 'restructuring needs to occur.'"

But previous testimony revealed that Fiat's representative, when asked whether the terminations were a prerequisite, actually asserted: "...a restructure needs to occur. Whether it occurs before or after the closing of the deal is not a material difference." Note the material difference in meaning, however, implied by the arrangement of words in the judge's footnote.

CNBC recently uncovered a Ministry of Truth-style edit by "someone affiliated with the Department of Energy" of two press releases on the same loan guarantee program offered Solyndra. The congressional investigations into that DOE program and Project Gunwalker may result in both Obama's Blackberry and the missing "Third Gun" stuffed down the same Memory Hole. The DOJ is also attempting to throw in Elena Kagan's documents relating to her involvement with ObamaCare as Solicitor General.

The Daily Caller reported on the Justice Department's proposed "revision to Freedom of Information Act rules [that] would allow federal agencies to lie to citizens and reporters seeking certain records, telling them the records don't exist." The agencies could then slip "certain records" down Memory Holes -- legally. But last week, the resulting "pushback" forced the DOJ to drop the proposal, although questions remain as to the department's internal guidance that allows certain "exclusions."

And if all the shovel-ready shovels are still lying around after Obama's presidency, they can be employed to dig Obama's "official" Memory Holes: according to the Judicial Watch blog, "a group of congressional Democrats has introduced legislation ... that will allow the commander-in-chief to keep presidential records secret after he leaves office."

Rather than contrived or directed by a central figure such as Orwell's Big Brother, some conspiracy-like movements can simply consist of many individuals motivated by a similar goal or worldview, independently creating, spinning, revising, or obscuring information -- a word, a sentence, a footnote, a record at a time.



More information suppression

The White House laments that America hasn't built enough massive government infrastructure projects. Nonsense. At the rate it's growing, the Great Stonewall of Obama may soon be the second largest manmade object visible from outer space.

While many construction workers across the country remain idle, Team Obama's attorneys have been laboring overtime to erect impenetrable information blockades around three festering scandals: Solyndra, LightSquared, and Fast and Furious.

This much is clear: The "most transparent administration ever" is hyper-allergic to sunlight and subpoenas.

During another trademark Friday news dump, the White House revealed that it would fight a GOP House subpoena for internal documents related to the half-trillion-dollar, stimulus-funded, now-bankrupt Solyndra solar energy loan bust. White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler fumed that the information request placed an "unreasonable burden on the president's ability to meet his constitutional duties." (Said duties, it should be noted, which the president has had no qualms circumventing during his "We Can't Wait" orgy of executive orders.)

Indeed, pestering the White House for a full accounting of how Solyndra and its largest investor -- Obama campaign finance bundler and billionaire gambler George Kaiser -- left taxpayers holding the bag is a most unwelcome intrusion into Obama's executive privilege. So someone summon a wahmbulance. He's feeling put upon.

Ruemmler further complained that the subpoena represents "a significant intrusion on executive branch interests." Then she uncorked a full-throated whine:

"As written, (the subpoena) encompasses all communications within the White House from the beginning of this Administration to the present that refer or relate to Solyndra, and the subpoena purports to demand a complete response in less than a week. Thus any document that references Solyndra, even in passing, is arguably responsive to the Committee's request, and you reaffirmed this week that you intend for the request to be that broad."

While she paints the request as a last-minute surprise, the White House has been stonewalling on Solyndra all year long. And as Reason magazine's Tim Cavanaugh points out: Compliance would be "the work of a few hours, at a time when the executive branch has 2.8 million employees. The whole thing could be done by staffers, leaving the president to focus on golf and fundraising and long, boring speeches."



Liberal Programs Deserve Blame for Income Inequality

The Congressional Budget Office documents income gains for everyone, not just the wealthy

Liberals are treating a new Congressional Budget Office study showing that income inequality increased in America over the last three decades as the smoking gun they’d always been looking for—the ultimate indictment of America, capitalism, and apple pie.

The Nation’s George Vornick wrote a piece titled “Yes, Virginia, There Is Income Inequality,” billing the CBO’s finding as “dramatic.” And he wondered whether the study, released as the Occupy Wall Street protests gather steam, would finally force the Republicans on the deficit reduction super committee to face some “uncomfortable truths.” New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait wasted no time in accusing those not in a tizzy over the study of being “blinkered ideologues” and “income inequality deniers.”

But if not everyone is alarmed by dubious claims about rising Gini co-efficients, a metric that measures income inequality, is it because they are “blinkered ideologues” and "deniers." No. Income inequality tells us zilch about the only thing that really matters: Are the lives of Americans, rich, poor, and in between, getting better or worse?

The finding that generated the most headlines was that the after-tax household income of the top 1 percent of Americans grew by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007. But this figure was based on outdated pre-recession data that omitted 2008 and 2009, when the “1 percenters” saw a decade's worth of gains wiped out. This is nothing to weep over. They took the risk and they lost.

But is the fate of those lower on the totem pole cause for panic? Not really. The study reports that in the same period, households in the top quintile saw a 65 percent income gain; the vast middle in the 21st to 80th percentiles saw about a 40 percent gain; and the bottom quintile saw an 18 percent gain.

In other words, no group lost ground or even stagnated. So why all this breast-beating?

Few, besides vulgar Marxists, believe in the “immiseration of the masses” theory of capitalism anymore—the idea that the wealth of the top few is extracted by exploiting the labor of the bottom many. Burying this notion is one of the enduring intellectual victories of market theorists.

The post-liberalization successes of India and China have convinced even ardent liberals that markets play a crucial role in raising productivity and relieving scarcity, vastly expanding the proverbial social pie so that everyone has more to go around.

Of course, some gain more than others. But so what? Isn’t an unequal distribution of wealth preferable to an equal distribution of poverty? Is there any amount of inequality that liberal worrywarts would accept? Suppose the CBO had found that every group’s income increased by exactly 65 percent. Would they celebrate everyone’s good fortune or mourn the unwavering income gap? The question answers itself.

If liberals accept the market’s productive capacity but reject its distributive verdict, it’s because they think of the market as an abstraction that spews out wealth like a spigot, with who gets what being completely up for grabs. Rich people get more, they believe, because they are more skilled at clawing their way to the head of the line.

But in functioning markets, there is a connection between creating and gaining wealth. Those on the front lines of wealth creation get more than those at the back, regardless of whether they began as rich people or poor. Steve Jobs, whose net worth upon his death was $8.3 billion, got rich because he created a $360 billion company, not because he cut ahead of others. It bespeaks a profound conceptual misunderstanding to talk, as the CBO study does, about the growing concentration of income in the hands of the rich, as if the “rich” existed apart from the wealth—the value—they create.

Another thing liberals are worked up about is that the study attributes rising inequality to fewer “federal transfers” to the poor. But that’s not because poor people are getting less money from Uncle Sam in absolute dollars. In fact, they get more every year. It is just that they are getting a smaller portion of total transfers. This is not something that “income inequality deniers” have made up. It is what the study itself says.

It found that in 1979, households in the bottom quintile received more than 50 percent of all transfer payments. In 2007, similar households received about 35 percent of transfers. “The shift reflects the growth in spending for programs focused on the elderly population (such as Social Security and Medicare), in which benefits are not limited to low-income households,” the study explains. “As a result, government transfers reduced the dispersion of household income by less in 2007 than in 1979.”

In other words, poor people are getting relatively fewer handouts thanks to the Great Society programs that liberals themselves put in place for the elderly. This demonstrates the core problem with unfettered redistributionism: Eventually, you run out of other people’s money. And when you do, you have to make hard choices about whose needs to prioritize—not demonize opponents.



The folly of corporate taxes

What about raising taxes on corporations as a means to get them to pay their "rightful share of government"? If a tax is levied on a corporation and if it is to survive, it will have one of several responses or some combination thereof. One response is to raise the price of its product, so customers share part of the burden. Another response is to lower dividends, so shareholders share a part of the burden. And a considerable portion of reduced dividend burden falls on ordinary non-rich people. According to the Tax Foundation, 19 percent of federal tax returns report dividend income but 42 percent of taxpayers older than 65 report dividend income. Therefore, it is people, not some legal fiction called a corporation, who bear the burden of the tax. Because corporations have these responses to the imposition of a tax, they are merely government tax collectors.

The largest burden of corporate taxes is borne by workers. We discover that by asking a simple question, such as: Which workers on a road construction project earn the higher pay, those employed moving dirt with shovels and wheelbarrows or those doing the same atop giant earthmovers? You'd guess the guys operating the earthmovers, but why? It's not because they're unionized or because construction contractors have a fondness for earthmover operators. It's because those workers have more capital (tools) to work with and are thereby more productive. Higher productivity translates into higher wages.

Tax policies that raise the cost of capital formation -- such as capital gains taxes, low depreciation allowances and corporate taxes -- reduce capital formation. As a result, workers have less capital, lower productivity and lower wage growth. In 1980, Joseph Stiglitz, now a Nobel laureate, said that workers share the highest corporate tax burden in the form of lower wages. A number of economic studies, including that of the Congressional Budget Office, show that workers bear anywhere from 45 to 75 percent of the corporate tax burden.



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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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